Public Speaking Expert
Kerry Washington was awarded with the 2014 Women in Film Lucy Award For Excellence in Television and when she took to the stage to pick up her award she used it as an opportunity to make an inspiring speech about women in the media and in show business.
Kerry stars in the leading role in the hit television series Scandal and she is the first African American women to have a leading role in a network television show for the past 40 years.
She began her speech by thanking everyone for the award and praising those who she had been up against but quickly moved on to talk about her role in show business and how hard it is for women to be seen and heard.
She started by talking about Pat Mitchell who she described as a “Badass woman in the business, having run PBS and the Payley Center for Media”.
Kerry said that she was called by Pat who asked her to make a TED speech: “She called and said, “I’m going to be running TED women and I would love for you to speak.” And I said, “You know gosh, you know what Pat, I really appreciate the invitation, but I just don’t know really what I would say, I’m not sue what my story would be, I think I should decline, and maybe when I’m ready I’ll come do that.” And Pat said to me “Kerry, I’ve worked with TED for a really long time. No man has ever said to me, I’m not ready to speak, but for TED Women you are part of a long list of women who have denied me by saying they are not ready.”
Kerry continued: “And I realised that what that meant is that we as women put ourselves in this situation of feeling like we can’t take a risk, like in order to step out there we have to be perfect, because we’re scared that if we don’t say the right thing, or do the right thing, that we’ll reflect poorly on ourselves and on our community, whether that community be women, people of colour, both.”
She concluded by adding that women need to be brave and speak out and make important speeches for their voice to be heard: “So sometimes, we don’t step out there. And I’m telling on myself, because I didn’t, even after Pat said to me, ‘This is so unfortunate, this is so wrong, women have to feel comfortable speaking out and stepping up, and standing in their light, and owning their voice.’ I said, ‘Yeah, you’re right. Good luck.’ I don’t do that often, but when I do, I know that it’s not good for me, and it’s not good for other women.”
Sometimes even the most famous of people can feel that they are not in a position to make a speech and don’t feel confident to speak out. Whoever you are you have a story to tell so stand proud and make the speech you have always wanted to and even if it is not perfect at least you can be proud that you took the risk in the first place.